Christmas is my favorite season but it’s also the most stressful time of the year for me. I’m sure it’s stressful for most people but it’s even harder for me as I have run a seasonal Christmas ornament business for the past 20 years. There were many years where I stayed up all night making ornaments or packing orders or wrapping presents.
I still love Christmas though. It feels magical too me. To keep myself sane, I have learned some things to help make the holidays less stressful. Now I want to share them with you.
Lists are your best friend now and the easiest way to remember everything you need to do, make and buy. Keep your lists, particularly your shopping list with you at all times. I actually keep my shopping list in my notes section on my iphone but before that I kept a small notebook in my purse.
In it I had a page for each of kids with their sizes, what they needed and what they wanted. I also kept the same information for others I had to buy for such as friends, my boss, family members, etc.
When I found a good sale, I had all the info I needed to see if I could use it for anyone on my list. I buy things year around for folks on my list so I’m not so overwhelmed at Christmas time.
Of course it’s too late for this year but another stress relieving shopping activity is that I do about 80% of my shopping online. One tip for this. When you get to the shopping cart to check out and see a field to enter a coupon code, do a google search for that online store + coupon to see if you can get a discount. More often than not, I find a working coupon for what I’m about to buy. I like saving money!!
Once you get home, or as soon as the gift arrives in the mail, wrap it as soon as you can. This is particularly important if you have nosy kids around. Also it helps to not have to do a marathon gift wrapping session. Just make sure you put name tags on the gifts so you know who they are for.
I buy my Christmas wrapping paper after Christmas and get it for a fraction of the cost. Then I keep all my supplies in a large plastic container in the corner of my closet.
This year will be a little different, but in the past, there were 4 different families I wrapped presents for (not including the odds and ends friends, neighbors, etc). I wrapped presents for my in-laws, for my parents, for my sister’s family and for my own kids. So I would wrap one family’s presents in one kind of wrapping paper, and another family’s in another paper. Friends and neighbors would be yet another kind of wrapping paper. That way, I could look at any gift and know where it was to go.
I did do something a slightly different for my kids. I’d try to find a paper with their favorite character (Snoopy or Dora, etc) or favorite color, or whatever I knew that child would like and I would wrap each child’s presents in that wrapping paper.
A long with your shopping list, keep a list for groceries since there will probably be different kinds of foods to buy this time of year. Keep a list of your menu items and from that, you can see what ingredients you need to buy. If there are any particular recipes you need for your holiday cooking, pull those out ahead of time to get the ingredients list and then paper clip the recipes together and put them where you have easy access to them.
Make sure your personal calendar and family calendar is updated with all the events and parties you and your family will be attending.
Cook anything that you can cook and freeze ahead of time so you won’t constantly be stuck in the kitchen.
If you can afford to do so,hire someone to come in and clean your house to take that burden off of you. Or if your kids are old enough to do so, let them do the cleaning and pay them.It’s a great way for them to earn some money to buy Christmas presents.
Don’t overdo this but do try to find a few special things your family can do together to start family traditions. For instance, we always drive down to the beach to look at the special lights display. We also have a cookie baking session where we spend a day making different kinds of cookies. Some we give as gifts. Others we eat ourselves or save for company during the holidays. When my kids were younger, I always read them the Christmas story before bed on Christmas Eve.
You get the idea. Traditions are important and help to bind a family together.
I hope these tips helped and if you have any of your own, please leave a comment and tell me about them. I’d love to know what you do to ease the stress of the season.